By Mark Smith

14th Dec, 2019 | 10:00am

Ben Parker blown away by 'Immense' Leeds ace ahead of Cardiff clash

In the absence of Liam Cooper in the past couple of games, Gaetano Berardi has been in great form for Leeds United.

The Swiss enforcer has always put his body on the line for the side but has faced some questions surrounding just how reliable he actually is in the heart of the defence.

Those questions were viable at the end of last season, especially after the red card he picked up for a stupid challenge against Derby County in the playoffs.

Against both Hull City and Huddersfield Town though, Berardi has stepped up massively – playing a major role in keeping clean sheets in both of those games.

Ben Parker was blown away ahead of the Cardiff clash, claiming the 31-year-old has been immense in the past month.

“I thought he was immense,” he said on the LUTV app.

“The efforts throwing his body on the line, he was almost tackling players with his back, his torso, different parts of his body.

“Getting the job done, you keep the ball out of the net any way possible, and he epitomised that.”

There is no hiding the fact that Berardi has stepped up, as seen in our recent player ratings – we believe he has played a massive role in picking up three points in our Yorkshire derbies.

The game against Cardiff on Saturday will be another test of Berardi’s physical capabilities against a side full of height but on recent evidence, he is more than ready to deal with that once again.

Cooper is a doubt for that clash, but could still return. Marcelo Bielsa did suggest that he wasn’t going to risk his captain if he wasn’t 100%, so Berardi will most likely get the nod once again at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, Ian Holloway raves about Leeds transfer ‘rumours’ that ‘would be a brilliant signing’